Vegan chickpea and white bean “Chicken” Parmesan

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By Corinne

These aren’t chicken. They don’t taste like chicken and they don’t feel sad about it and neither should you. They really aren’t even trying to be chicken, they are just their own delightful thing that happened to be inspired by a dish usually made with chicken.  They are crispy on the outside, tender and spiced on the inside and you will be making this again.

While tofu is the standard vegan/vegetarian meat substitute, I just don’t love it. I feel like it doesn’t really have anything going for it in the flavour or the texture department. So in searching for a reasonable substitute that wasn’t a highly processed, already premade thing, I managed to come up with these. They are delicious. I mean. I of course had to taste to adjust seasoning… but may have done more tasting than strictly necessary before even breading and frying them.

Time: about 40 minutes

Serves: makes 4-5 servings

Oven: 450F

You will need:

For “chicken”

  • 1 cup white navy beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 cup chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley + more for garnish
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp sunflower or olive oil + 1tbsp additional for brushing
  • 1/2 cup high gluten flour (80%)
  • 1/2 cup veggie broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • canola oil or vegetable oil for frying
  • vegan mozzarella cheese, or regular mozza if you’re just feeling vegetarian rather than vegan
  • about 1/2 cup of your favourite marinara sauce

For breading

  • 1 cup panko
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp basil
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • several grinds of fresh pepper

Add chickpeas, navy beans, garlic, shallot, fresh parsley, nutritional yeast, basil, oregano, thyme, panko, vegetable broth, and 2 tbsp oil to a food processor. Pulse in short bursts until ingredients are combined.

 

Remove mixture to a large bowl and add 1/2 cup of high gluten flour. Mix together and knead it a bit. At this point, if you wish, you can wrap in plastic and leave overnight in the fridge. Letting the mixture rest does seem to give it an easier to work with texture(tends to stick together a bit more and is easier to flip when frying) but is not strictly necessary.

Mix breading ingredients together. A pie plate works great for this, but a shallow bowl will work as well.

Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. You want the oil to be hot enough that there is vigorous bubbling when you drop some crumbs in. If your oil is too cold, your patties won’t get that nice crisp crust and will be somewhat soggy and oily.

Divide bean dough depending on how large you would like your patties to be. I find if you do larger patties, they look more like chicken breasts, but smaller patties cook and flip a little better. So- say 8 if you want smaller patties, and 5 if you want larger ones.  Press them into an ovalish patty shape. Brush each side with the reserved oil and then place into the crumb dish. Firmly press breading onto both sides and around the edges of the patty.

 

Pan fry until golden brown on both sides, flipping once. Remove to a baking pan. When all patties are golden, top each with 1-2 tbsp of your favourite marinara (don’t spread it around,  you want those edges to stay crisp) and then top that with the cheese or cheese product of your choice. Bake in a 450F oven for 10 minutes until cheese is melted and sauce is warm.

 

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Chive Blossom Vinegar

By Corinne

This officially qualifies as my most planned blog post. I wrote this last spring/summer. Of course, by the time the vinegar is ready, the chives are long done blossoming so wouldn’t be useful to anyone. So here it is- hopefully still early enough for the folks in Southern Ontario, and in lots of time for my peeps in Thunder Bay 🙂

I actually think chive blossoms are beautiful and underrated in bouquets 🙂 There are some snuggled into this one.

 

The bees love them and I do too. Chive blossoms broken up a bit make a pretty addition to a salad, but you can also make a lovely flavoured vinegar with them.

This is a recipe that barely even qualifies as a recipe.

You will need:

  • jars
  • vinegar (I just use plain white vinegar)
  • chive blossoms (you need enough to half fill whatever jar you are using)

Snip chive blossoms and give them a good rinse and then a spin dry in a salad spinner. Fill jars about half full of blossoms, and then fill with vinegar. Affix lids to jars, then place in a cool, darkish place out of direct sunlight for a few days. At this point check them, you may need to top them up with vinegar at this point. If not, leave them for another 2-3 weeks. By this point the vinegar will be a pretty pink and the flowers will have lost most of their colour.

 

Strain the vinegar into clean jars. Discard used blossoms. Use this lightly oniony vinegar in your favourite vinaigrettes. Keeps for at least a year!

 

Fast and Easy Vegan Mini Batch Cinnamon Rolls

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By Corinne

These are an adaptation of a recipe I’ve used for my hospitality class. They make a perfectly acceptable cinnamon roll, even if you aren’t vegan. While they don’t have the richness of a yeast based recipe, the fact you can make them on a whim makes them totally worth it.

I personally prefer mine without icing, as I find them sweet enough. But the icing is good, especially if you make it with a liquor instead of non-dairy milk.

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Makes: 6 rolls

Time: prep 10 minutes or less, bake 15 min, total 25 minutes

You will need

  • ¾ cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar (divided)
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt (pinch of salt)
  • 5 tablespoons non-dairy milk (75 mL)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8th tsp salt (pinch of salt)
  • 2 tbsp chopped, toasted pecans (if desired)

ICING

  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of non dairy milk (OR a liquor of your choice you think will go well with cinnamon- I like grand marnier!)

Preheat oven to 375 . Spray muffin tins (6) if you are worried about sticking. In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of white sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon. Stir until combined. Keep separate until later!

In a separate bowl, combine flour, 1 tablespoon white sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir. 

In a separate bowl, combine milk, vinegar and 2 tablespoons of the melted coconut oil.

Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until a sticky dough forms.

Lightly flour the counter. Knead the dough until no longer sticky.

Roll out into a rectangle about 6 inches (15 cm) long and about 4 inches wide. Brush 2 tablespoons of coconut oil onto the dough and spread it out. Now you get to use the sugars! Sprinkle sugars and cinnamon on top of dough. Sprinkle toasted nuts on if using. 

Roll up dough lengthwise, pinch the seam together and cut into 6 equal pieces. Place each piece in a muffin pan, brush with the last of the melted coconut oil.

Bake for 14 – 15 minutes in muffin pan.

Mix powdered sugar with 1 tablespoon of milk(or liquor!) and stir until combined. Frost the rolls.

Tabbouleh

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By Corinne

Tabbouleh is a delightfully simple and filling salad. It is traditionally made with just bulgur, but can be made with cous cous or can be made gluten free by using just quinoa.

I am a bit in love with this little box of quinoa and bulgur mix from Presidents Choice- though I recommend using vegetable (or chicken) broth to cook the bulgur/quinoa, and only using 2 cups of liquid rather than the 2 1/4 cups recommended on the box.

Serves: makes about 4 1/2 cups of salad

Time: about 20 minutes

You will need:

  • 1 box President’s Choice Blue Menu Bulgur and Quinoa Blend (225g) or 1 cup red quinoa or bulgur or cous cous- cook as needed
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (or water)
  • 1 1/2  cup fresh flat leaf (Italian) parsley, minced (about half of a large bunch)
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, minced
  • 1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup red onion, small dice or minced
  • 2 large clove minced garlic
  • juice of 3 lemons
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or sunflower oil)
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Bring 2 cups of vegetable broth(or water) to boil and add quinoa and bulgur. Return to boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes until tender. Allow to cool.

Mince parsley, mint, garlic, and onion. Add to large bowl. Quarter cherry tomatoes and add to bowl. Add the juice of three lemons and the 1/4 cup of olive oil to bowl. Season generously with pepper. If you used just water to cook the bulgur/quinoa rather than vegetable broth, also season with salt.

When bulgur/quinoa mix has cooled, add to the bowl with the other ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Good served immediately, or can be made the day before serving.

 

Chewy Crispy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

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By Corinne

I am often in a position where I need to alter recipes, whether it be because the original ingredients just can’t be sourced in north western Ontario, or because I’m cooking for someone with allergies or another dietary concern. While I often make vegetarian or vegan suppers, I’ve little experience with vegan baking. This semester I have a student who is vegan in my hospitality class, and for the most part, this is easy enough to accommodate. I was however, a bit concerned about some of the baking that we do as I don’t have a lot of vegan baking experience.  This has prompted me to do more experimenting at home. I want to make sure that whatever they do in class is successful, so always try new things at home first. I’d much rather it flop for me than the kids!

This recipe was recommended by a vegan friend- but with a hard time limit in my class, was just not going to work as written. I significantly altered the instructions to be able to make it work in our limited class time.

These cookies are amazing while warm, and as long as you don’t over bake them they are delicious and still crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside once cooled as well. Avoid the temptation to cook them longer than necessary! Despite using virgin coconut oil, they only have a vaguely nutty flavour when cooked and do not taste overwhelmingly of coconut.

Time: about 10 min prep, 9-11 minutes bake

Makes: about 2 dozen cookies

Preheat oven: 350F

You will need:

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • ½  teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup virgin coconut oil
  • ¼ cup non-dairy milk (I use vanilla coconut milk, but any non-dairy milk will work)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 5 oz vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix non-dairy milk and vanilla in a small bowl and set aside.

In a small bowl mix together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Using a mixer, cream together coconut oil and sugars. This won’t quite cream the way butter and sugar does, but it will start to come together.

Add non-dairy milk and vanilla all at once. Allow to mix for about 30 seconds.

Add half of flour, stop to scrape down sides if needed. Add the other half of the flour and mix until incorporated.

Stir in the chocolate chips by hand.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop about 1 tbsp dough and roll into a ball. Flatten slightly. Leave about 2 inches of space between cookies to allow for spread.

Bake in 350F oven for 9-11 minutes. Cookies will be slightly golden on the bottom and very edges. Do NOT over bake. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet before removing to cooling rack.

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Vegan (or not) Garden Pesto

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By Corinne

Basil is amazing. I am so in love with basil in the summer I can hardly help myself from adding it to everything. Basil in every salad, basil on sandwiches, basil gently rubbed between my fingers just to smell every time I go outside on my deck… Ah! Well, enough with this summer reverie. It’s February and the days (while getting longer) are still short and dark and cold and we’ve just had two weeks of -20C without a break. I’m craving summer in a bad way!

This pesto is infinitely versatile- in the summer I use much more basil than other greens, but in the winter good basil is hard to find and pricy! Tonight when I made it, I used about 15g of basil and 15g of parsley(a small handful of each)- the rest was spicy arugula, so I omitted the pepper.

While I’ve historically always used cheese, I decided to give nutritional yeast a try for this recipe. I probably could have thinned it out a BIT more, but it actually emulsified easier than the cheese version, was smoother, and as a bit of a shock to both myself and my taste tester, was the preferred version!

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Time: under 10 minutes

Makes: about 1/2- 3/4 of a cup 

You will need:

  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup olive oil or other oil of your choice (I used sunflower oil)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, outer skin removed
  • 1 ½ cup(lightly packed down) fresh herbs such as basil, parsley or greens such as spinach, kale or arugula
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp salt – to taste
  • pepper – to taste

In a food processor or using an immersion blender(I usually use my immersion blender as this is a relatively small batch and I have a large food processor), combine the herbs/greens and garlic and process for 15 seconds.

With the food processor still running, add the oil SLOWLY until the mixture is smooth – you want it to emulsify. The mixture should look almost matte, and not oily. If your pesto looks oily you rushed the emulsification process and added too much oil at once.  You are looking for the mixture to be loose, not chunky but not watery or runny at all.

Add the nutritional yeast or cheese and process for ten seconds. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

You can see in the picture that I did a better job of emulsifying the one version on the left than the one on the right today. I’m going to blame using a different container than I usually use!

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Toss with warm pasta, put on pizza, spread on a pork tenderloin or chicken… pesto is delightfully easy to use! This will stay good in the fridge for about a week. 

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Vegan Chocolate Snowball Cookies

By:  Julie

Time:  35 min

Serves: 2 dozen cookies

I will admit, I used to have food prejudice.  With the word vegan I associated flavors like cardboard, kale, and unseasoned lentils.  After much research, and a daughter with food allergies, I have learned much.  I have learned that Vegan can be delicious, and if you make these cookies you won’t even know they are vegan  You will just think they are awesome – and so will anyone else you feed them to.  Picture a chocolate cloud… crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, with a rich chocolate taste.  Heaven.  My sentences are getting shorter because I’m eating them and typing with one hand.  Because I can’t stop eating them.

This recipe originally came from a past edition of Our Compliments magazine and caught my interest because it was dairy free, which is important for my family.  Corinne and I wanted to see if we could make a vegan version as this is the result.  It has the same texture as the original and is just as tasty.

You Will Need:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp ground coffee
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of well mashed very ripe banana (1 large)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.  In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder.  In a stand mixer bowl, or a large bowl, use mixer to beat together cocoa powder, oil, and coffee until well combined.  Scrape down sides and beat again.  Add white sugar and brown sugar and beat until combined.  Add banana and vanilla and mix thoroughly.  Some people who are afraid of sticky dough here might chill it to make it easier to work with, but I promise, it’s fine.  Just skip it.  Time is money.  If you are sticking your finger in the dough at this point to lick it off you will get an intense banana flavor.  Most of this mellows after baking so don’t panic.  I doubt your family will even realize there is banana in there if you don’t blab and tell them.

Put icing sugar in a small bowl.  Using a spoon (don’t bother with an ice cream scoop, the texture of the dough will just make you insane if you try to use it), and your fingertips, make 1-inch dough balls and roll them in the icing sugar before placing on your lined cookie sheet.  Repeat until all the dough is gone and you have 24 pretty white snowballs.  I baked my two sheets of cookies separately because my oven doesn’t seal particularly well but if you have cooked two sheets at one time in the past with success, by all means throw them both in there at once.  Otherwise, bake one sheet at a time for 6-8 minutes (mine took 8).  You will no they are done because they will have leveled out and cracked a bit.  They will be like little molten lava cakes when you first take them out and they are delicate.  slide the parchment paper with the cookies off the sheet carefully onto a cooling rack.  Allow to cool completely before eating.  Or throw them in a bowl with ice-cream because, damn, they really are like little lava cookies.

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Let us know how this worked for you!